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David Yount

[TR] Static Point - cutting the gnar 2 7/10/2010

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Trip: Static Point - cutting the gnar 2

 

Date: 7/10/2010

 

Trip Report:

 

Static Point Trip Report Work Party 07.10.10

 

Saturday I arrive at the parking area early; adjust the chain on my saw, fill up gas and bar oil. And wait, half hour. Nobody. At 10:00am

 

I begin the hike.

 

I come to a rather large gorge, with steep sides. With a McCloud and a Spade Shovel it would be straightforward to cut a trail into the side of these steep banks. Presently most of these banks are scaled with loose scramble paths. This kind of dirt work is best done Fall or Winter when many plants are dormant with no leaves and the ground is visible. Ideal crew would have 1 Pick, 2 Spade Shovels, 1 McCloud and 5 people.

 

I reach the always raging little creek and place some pink nylon flagging tape. This marks the beginning of a section that needs work. The road was partially washed away and now there’s a loose steep dirt section that needs to be worked into a reasonable ascent. There is also an extraordinary density of new growth. I place a flagging at the end of this section.

 

Up the road a while later I place flagging, for the beginning of a section that needs some moderate pruning to widen the trail. Then a second flagging at the end of this section.

 

The third section begins where some of my 2009 chainsaw cuttings lie on the road. These cuttings need to be lifted and chucked off the road, out of sight. Last year I worked solo cutting thru the unimaginable alder tangle.

 

October 2009 Trail Work

 

“I could only proceed reasonably if I was cutting a path thru the gnar. And so the blood letting began. I walk, I cut, I walk, I cut, I leave the trimmings where they fall, I continue pushing up the forgotten roadbed. In order to move uproad with all available speed I was choosing to make as few cuts as possible, leaving the trees whole. I was making it easy on myself, but creating thuggish work for tossing the cut trees.”

 

Don Brooks tossed most of my cuttings from 2009, following behind me as I cut. “A capable looking fellow, dressed in comfortable clothes based on function and experience far more than technology and fad, sporting a nice pair of hand pruners and a folding tree saw, both in sturdy leather holders, well worn work boots with the steel toes plainly visible, moving reliably and efficiently, never in a hurry, obviously at home outdoors doing physical work.” I returned two weeks later and cut some more.

 

This third section of road extends to the end. The first part needs my cuttings removed. After the left culvert some heavy brushing and some chainsaw work. After the right culvert moderate brushing and some chainsaw.

 

But today I want to work on the trail; the road has seen my last 3 efforts and all significant obstacles have been removed. I reach the large broad streambed and look up to see Static Peak and the slabs.

 

At the hiking trail I take off my pack with saw and oil and gas. I know this old logging road reaches the Sultan River . In Darryl Cramer’s 2000 guidebook Sky Valley Rock his map on page 244 shows “Picnic Spot” where the logging road crosses the Sultan River and that sounds like such a nice place to visit. On google maps when you zoom in 4 times where the climber’s trail begins you easily see the road and it’s less than 800 feet to the river.

 

Static Point driving and hiking map

 

So I pass the climber’s trail and continue on the abandoned logging road. It’s less than 800 feet to the river and the “Picnic Spot.” I can’t wait. Just 7 or 8 minutes of walking. I’m ducking under blowdowns. I’m stepping over blowdowns. I’m thrasing between young alders. Sometimes I’m thrashing while I’m ducking or thrashing while high stepping. Madness!

 

If you are curious to get a taste of how bad 2 miles of road used to be, try walking the 800 feet to the river. Anybody that attempted to climb at Static Point in 2009 can verify that the road was in worse shape than this final 800 feet to the river. Far worse.

 

I return to the climber’s trail, shoulder my pack and gear. As I begin up the steep trail I am smiling. Somebody has been here since I climbed a few weeks ago and they have swung a sharp machete with a skillful wrist. The first 50 feet of steep trail were covered with smaller blow down trees and tangled mess of Spring growth. Now it’s cleared. I suspect Don Brooks.

 

I reach the rock, take off my pack. Yesterday I went up the Granite Sidewalk of Exfoliation Dome, climbed Rainman 5.10C 8 pitches, topped out at the summit (3 more pitches, thanks for the new bolts and bolted belays Matt Perkins), then rapped off the backside – Withdoctor Wall. We were intending to climb Sunday Cruise up to the summit of Exfoliation Dome then rap off the front, down to our packs. Well, turns out that Sunday Cruise might be one of those sarcastic route names. At the top of the third pitch I called a halt to the madness, it was the biggest horror fest I’ve ever climbed. We had 5 more pitches and because of the low quality of rock we were climbing way too slow. We bailed from slings around a horn and another rap off a strong bush.

 

Then we walked down the drainage to the road, up the road to the car and played Rock Paper Scissors between the 3 of us. Our packs were at the top of the Granite Sidewalk but no reason for all 3 of us to make the grunt. Yeah well, I lost.

 

So I sweated up the Granite Sidewalk for the second time that day, and then sped down in fading light. Today when I looked up at the first bolt of Online I thought the angle of rock was not much steeper than some sections of the Granite Sidewalk. I thought I’d try to work some moves in tennis shoes. After quickly gaining 20 feet I realized I might be able to climb much of the first pitch or two in tennis shoes. Why not? The Stonemasters of Tahquitz and Suicide Rock had done just that. I turn and face out and smear down the steep rock, my tennis shoes never really slipping, but seeming to threaten to do so.

 

I plan to return Tuesday July 13 and see how far tennis shoes can get up that route.

 

I take out the saw, shoulder my pack and walk down the trail. For the next five hours the saw is used when necessary to clear the trail. In five hours work I go through 6 tanks of gas and clear up the remaining two sections of trail that were really bad. I only throw the chain, once.

 

I place the chain back in the bar and pull the chain thru several full rotations; I find one drive tooth that must be slightly damaged, it does not move freely thru the channel in the bar. I reassemble the saw and adjust the tension in the chain. There’s a sticky link but it seems to move well enough? I start it up and the saw struggles slightly with the friction from the damaged piece of chain. After several more small trees are bucked the chain is moving smoothly.

 

I’ve learned that cutting springy vines, bush stems and sometimes small trees less than 1-inch diameter can bind the chain and pull it off the bar. But I’ve also found it’s faster to keep using the saw for these purposes rather than put the saw down and pick up bypass loppers. When I’m working solo it’s just faster to keep using the saw and not even carry the weight of the loppers. But I think the channel in the bar is somewhat tweaked, I think it’s widened, I think in re-learning how to use a chainsaw I’ve put rapid wear and tear on the bar. Time to consider a new bar. And I do need to always carry a bow saw; just in case the chainsaw becomes pinched by a tree. When my gas container is empty I’ve made it over halfway down the trail.

 

I pack up and walk down to the road. The lower half of the trail needs work, but it’s not bad. I leave my gear at the large dry streambed just after reaching the road and walk down the wash to the Sultan River. I place my feet in the cold water and drink 3 pints of water. The sun is gorgeous.

 

By 6pm I return to my car, 8 hours after leaving it this morning.

 

Looking forward, the road would benefit some from brushing and cutting and benefit greatly from digging some trail tread into the sides of those steep banks. The trail would benefit from significant lopper work and some chainsaw work. Several people have contacted me letting me know they really want to help but need significant advance scheduling. Here it is:

 

October 17, Sunday 10:00am Static Point Work Party

 

Tools: McCloud, Spade Shovels, telescoping bypass lopper, bypass loppers, folding limb saws, bowsaws, chainsaws (gas and lube, bar oil).

 

David Yount.

 

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Yesterday I went up the Granite Sidewalk of Exfoliation Dome, climbed Rainman 5.10C 8 pitches, topped out at the summit (3 more pitches, thanks for the new bolts and bolted belays Matt Perkins), then rapped off the backside – Withdoctor Wall. We were intending to climb Sunday Cruise up to the summit of Exfoliation Dome then rap off the front, down to our packs. Well, turns out that Sunday Cruise might be one of those sarcastic route names. At the top of the third pitch I called a halt to the madness, it was the biggest horror fest I’ve ever climbed. We had 5 more pitches and because of the low quality of rock we were climbing way too slow. We bailed from slings around a horn and another rap off a strong bush.

 

Then we walked down the drainage to the road, up the road to the car and played Rock Paper Scissors between the 3 of us. Our packs were at the top of the Granite Sidewalk but no reason for all 3 of us to make the grunt. Yeah well, I lost.

 

So I sweated up the Granite Sidewalk for the second time that day, and then sped down in fading light.

 

Great job on the trail work.

I have noted the October date and I will try and make it. I may even bring help.

 

Now the above quote is something I would like to hear more about.

 

Tyson

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Man, readthe write up!

That is freaking great stuff.

Bad ass and great bragging rights for doin the sidewalk mutiple times and with the extra gear. Damn!

 

Thank you for sharing that.

Sweet!

 

I have to throw some kudos out to my buddies on their behalf -

You mentioned the road work and parking area stuff.

Smedley of the Mountains and a few other buddies did that work a few weeks back the day after we climbed Westward Ho and camped out.

They moved all the boulders out of the slides and did a good amount of brushing and firpeit construction.

 

Again great effort and thanks for sharing the details.

Cheers!

 

 

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In general climbing is good from March to early November, but never on sunny summer days at Static Point.

 

 

September, 2012

Before you drive out to climb at Static Point it's easily worthwhile to place a phone call to ask if the South Shore Gate is open at Spada Resevoir. The gate is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from May 1 to October 31, except for 1) roadwork, or 2) dangerous conditions. And in my experience it's not rare for them to decide there exist dangerous conditions, and they have roadwork to perform every year during Spring to Fall.

 

The Snohomish PUD contols the gate and their website will give the gate's status. But the actual page with the gate's status is buried in several layers of choices and the navigation is not intuitive nor descriptive. But here's the URL as of September 2012:

http://www.snopud.com/PowerSupply/hydro/jhp/jhprecreation/jhpsultan.ashx?p=1500

 

425.783.1774 Karen Bedrossian (or her subsequent replacement)

425.783.8804 Barry Chrisman

 

If you don't reach either of them you can call the main number and seek other suggestions from the operator

425.783.1744, or 877.783.1000

 

option 0 to speak to an operator at Snohomish PUD and ask them about the current status of the South Shore Gate at Spada Resevoir. Ask the operator for the direct phone number and the full name of the person they will connect you with, for your records.

 

If the gate is closed, you can still climb at Static Point, just add 3 miles of casual downhill mtn biking or hiking.

 

Sometimes you must park at the registration station at Olney Pass if the right gate, South Shore Road, is closed. The right gate is the South Shore Road, take this. The three miles (on road Nf-6129 around the reservoir / lake) to the decommissioned spur road is gently and consistently downhill (fast and easy on a mtn bike). When you arrive at a large bridge (crossing the inlet to Spada Resevoir), the spur road is just past on the right and is blocked by several boulders and a large snag placed crosswise. Park here. You used to be able to drive part of this spur road, but now you park in a pullout on the South Shore Road.

 

You can climb all year long at Static Point. Several routes were first climbed in January. The granite slab faces south and dries relatively quickly. In the winter when it's a sunny day the climbing can be at it's best, as the friction of climbing shoe rubber reaches it's maximum at 49F, I've read. If the South Shore Gate is not opened and if there isn't snow at the 2000-foot Olney Pass, then a casual 3 mile downhill mtn bike ride accesses the old spur road (this spur road can be biked for a few minutes but quickly turns into hiking only because of 21 deep gorges cut into the road).

 

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